Democrats seized the moment for state-level gun control after the NRA retreated from the fight over new bump stock regulations.
The retreat has provided safe passage for lawmakers who would otherwise be constrained to stand by the NRA for fear of political fallout.
The Hill reports that state-level gun control advocates became emboldened after “Republicans in some states signaled they would be willing to break with the National Rifle Association to support some new rules.”
Following the October 1, 2017, Las Vegas attack, the NRA gave mixed signals by voicing opposition to federal legislation against bump stocks while releasing a statement in support of more federal regulatory control of the accessories. In other words, they stood against Congressional action but were okay with new regulations being handed down by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).
On October 5, 2017, the NRA released a statement, which said in part:
In Las Vegas, reports indicate that certain devices were used to modify the firearms involved. Despite the fact that the Obama administration approved the sale of bump fire stocks on at least two occasions, the National Rifle Association is calling on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to immediately review whether these devices comply with federal law.
Now two things are happening: First, the ATF is working to redefine the word “machineguns,” so that it will cover non-machineguns as well, thus opening the door to regulatory gun control on bump stocks. Secondly, state-level Republicans believe they now have enough leeway to support bump stock control without facing political ramifications via the NRA.
This has led to pushes for other state-level gun controls as well, as proponents of Second Amendment restrictions seek to secure every law they can during this brief window of opportunity.
On January 15, 2018, Chris Christie (R) signed a bump stock ban as one of his last actions in office. His ban, like other Democrat-driven bans, goes beyond bump stocks to prohibit possession of certain aftermarket triggers as well.
Bump stocks do not lead to a slippery slope, rather, they are the slippery slope.
AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News, the host of the Breitbart podcast Bullets, and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sign up to get Down Range at breitbart.com/downrange.